let those grasses
growing in the field
speak out
they will have tears to shed
they will have songs to sing

Yosano Tekkan’s poem seems to be about careful listening, or delicately creating a space for someone to say something they haven’t before. Another reading would be that Tekkan is completely out of ideas and so he points over to a patch of grass saying “I don’t know... Ask them.” 

My first train of thought after reading the poem:

Grass is not grass.
Grass is marginalised voices or something.
Or maybe…
Grass might be grass.
If anything has grass potential, it is grass.

In an after-school club I run a child called Michelle wrote a similar sort of field-recording poem:

When you go to the beach, listen to the sand.

She eventually left my creative club to join something called, “Finance Club,” one of the most spectacular insults I’ve received. My club runs at a massive financial loss.

Tales of the Unexpected is a collection of short stories by Roald Dahl, which were made into a TV show in the 80s. One was about a device which could hear the otherwise silent screams of nature, like a little howling plucked flower. The inventor mows his lawn with the big headphone contraption on and falls to his knees in horror. If I remember right, the grass screams sounded squeakily human-like. Someone had the job to create the screams of grass for the show, providing a sort of answer to Tekkan’s poem. A better, more unexpected twist (the whole point of the show) would’ve been for the grass to have loved getting a trim. Moaning in ecstasy as the blades spin overhead. Imagining yourself as a blade of grass, or a whole lawn being cut, is tricky empathy.

“The human head is bigger than the globe. It conceives itself as containing more. It can think and rethink itself and ourselves from any desired point outside the gravitational pull of the earth. It starts by writing one thing and later reads itself as something else. The human head is monstrous.”

Gunter Grass